LOCATION AND CLIMATE

 

As you might expect, olives grown in cooler areas where there is more moisture (rainfall and dew) exhibit leaner, more restrained characteristics.  This doesn’t however mean that great oil can now be made in Iceland – you need a minimum amount of sunshine to make your Extra Virgin Olive Oil taste remarkable, similarly to tomatoes or stone fruit.

Olive trees are sensitive to winter freeze (the Casaliva cultivar is more resistant to cold, hence being grown in the Garda region).  It is also easier to farm organically where the climate is more stable and less chemical sprays are required to keep the trees healthy.

OLIVE MATURITY

 

Here’s the thing – all olives are green.  When they become fully mature, they turn black.
Olive maturity at the time of harvest is a major factor in flavour and quality: olives harvested earlier (green olives) feature more bitter, grassy characteristics, with lower yields and with the highest anti-oxidant content.  The oil is a much more intense green colour and has a longer shelf-life.  In terms of production, milling can take longer with green olives (a longer malaxation - the action of slowly churning milled olives to release droplets of oil - is needed and can be more complicated) but the results are far superior!  Don’t choose olive oil from over mature fruit: it lacks all the potential goodness and flavour.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN GROVE AND MILL

 

People who care passionately about what they make and follow it personally every day have the capacity to create products with far higher quality, with integrity, and that taste of where they come from.  They are also able to do this by caring for the environment they inhabit.

FRANTOIO DI RIVA BOX

This box contains 6 bottles of extra virgin olive oil made exclusively by Frantoio di Riva from groves on the banks of lake Garda.

Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO green label x 3 bottles (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO organic white label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, 46°PARALLELO blue label x 1 bottle (50cl)
Frantoio di Riva, ULIVA Garda Trentino DOP x 1 bottle (50cl)

AFTER THE HARVEST

As the Olive harvest comes to a close in Italy, the nets are rolled up and crates stacked away and everyone who has worked so hard to collect the fruit of this year can now finally enjoy their bruschetta.  Harvest is incredibly manual and gruelling and as the weather is finally turning chilly here it’s time to batten down the hatches and leave the trees to rest.

 

In order to initiate flowers and fruit, olive trees need a two month period of cold weather (below 10°C), prolonged cold below 7.5°C can inhibit fruit production, so this is why Mediterranean climates work best.  This is also why you might choose to bring an olive tree inside or insulate it over the winter if you live in a cooler climate.

 

Following the cold spell, typically the tree is pruned (tends to be February in Italy) – it is time consuming and can therefore be costly but it’s an essential part of keeping the tree productive and healthy.   As any keen gardener will know, pruning is an art – and there are two main aims here: to maintain the health of the tree and to facilitate tree maintenance for the year ahead (if the tree is allowed to expand massively it becomes a much greater job to manage).  I’ve noticed that the best pruners tend to cut back quite hard as vigour can be impressive in the springtime. Over pruning does however prevent fruiting so it’s a fine balance to judge this perfectly.

 

For now though, it’s time to begin enjoying the results of the 2017 harvest.  Your oils will be shipped to you in the coming weeks and we can’t wait to hear what you think about them.